Joseph Ruggles Wilson

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Joseph Ruggles Wilson
Joseph Ruggles Wilson.jpg
Born February 28, 1822
Steubenville, Ohio
Died January 21, 1903(1903-01-21) (aged 80)
Princeton, New Jersey
Education Jefferson College
Princeton Theological Seminary
Children Woodrow Wilson
Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Jr.
Anne E. Wilson Howe
Church Presbyterian

Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Sr. (February 28, 1822 – January 21, 1903)[1] was a prominent Presbyterian theologian and father of President Woodrow Wilson, Nashville Banner editor Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Jr., and Anne E. Wilson Howe.[2]

Life and work[edit]

Wilson was born in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of Mary Anne (Adams) and James Wilson, who were Protestant immigrants from Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland. He graduated from Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1844.[3] He taught belles-lettres at Washington & Jefferson.[4] Wilson was later employed as a Professor at Hampden-Sydney College and left the school just before the birth of his son, Thomas Woodrow Wilson in Staunton, Virginia. There he became the pastor of Staunton’s Presbyterian Church, which he held from 1855-1857. In late 1857 after performing the wedding of his brother-in-law, James Woodrow, he moved his family to Augusta, Georgia, where he continued to practice as a Presbyterian pastor.[5]

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Wilson became a chaplain in the Confederate Army for a short time. After resigning, Wilson cared for wounded Confederate soldiers in battle by transforming his church into a hospital. Due to this, he and his son received the privilege of meeting General Robert E. Lee, a moment that his son would never forget.[citation needed] He was installed to the pastorate at the First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, NC in 1874 and served until 1885 when he accepted a professorship of theology at Southwestern University. During his time in Wilmington, NC, he presided over many events, including the payment of all owed debt, the abolition of pew rents, and the inauguration of subscription and weekly contributions. [6]

He died in 1903.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Dodd, William Edward (1920). Woodrow Wilson and his Work. Doubleday, Page & Company. p. 3. 
  3. ^ "Jefferson College 1802-1865". U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives. Washington & Jefferson College. Archived from the original on 2009-05-01. 
  4. ^ Coleman, Helen Turnbull Waite (1956). Banners in the Wilderness: The Early Years of Washington and Jefferson College. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 85–91. OCLC 2191890. 
  5. ^ Montgomery, Erick D. "Woodrow Wilson in Georgia". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Rev. Joseph Ruggles Wilson". Digital Public Library of America. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "President Wilson At His Sister .At Close Of Service He Places Flowers...". The Star and Sentinel. September 19, 1916. Retrieved 2010-10-06. The plot in which the remains were interred is also the resting place of her husband and Joseph Ruggles Wilson and wife, father and mother of the family. ...